Walton Corbould

(28 December 1859 - 13 April 1919)

Born at Eldon Lodge, Victoria Road, Kensington, London on 28 December 1859, fifth child of artist Alfred Hitchins Corbould [q.v.] and his wife Mary Grace née Keene, who married at Kensington in 1848, and grandson of Henry Corbould, the Keene's were of the Suffolk family. Educated at Woodbridge School in Suffolk. An artist illustrator and for a time on the staff of The World and was the author of the Mother Goose stories and others. He died at 12 Woodgrange Avenue, Ealing, Middlesex on 13 April 1919, and buried at Hampstead two days later. A watercolour of his uncle Charles Samuel Keene [q.v.] is in the National Portrait Gallery.

Walton Corbould was Charles Samuel Keene’s nephew, the son of his eldest sister Mary and the artist Alfred Hitchens Corbould (fl. 1844–64). He was not formally trained but worked as an illustrator for the News of the World ‘and similar papers’. A note on file for National Portrait Gallery indicates ‘[Corbould] did the drawing of the head from a photograph ∧ from long personal & intimate acquaintance with his uncle. The rest of the figure was done from clothes usually worn by Keene & the room was part of Keene’s studio.’

The sitter is not instantly recognizable in this large and detailed drawing. This is partly because Keene’s looks changed with ill-health; the ‘jet black curly hair’ turned grey; and he shunned publicity, so that there are relatively few images of him in later life. Keene’s biographer Layard described his peculiar, informal sense of dress:

He rarely wore a black coat, his clothes (of which he always had several suits) being made of Cheviot [tweed] or other coloured material. I don’t think I ever saw him in a silk hat -- always a ‘billycock’ or ‘wide-awake’. Very particular about his boots, which he had from a first-rate West-end maker. He often carried a bag slung over his shoulders with a leathern strap. He never carried an umbrella however inclement the weather might be, often getting wet through two or three times a day. See the spats, the long tweed coat hung at right and the shepherd’s crook walking stick. The portrait was offered as a gift to the National Portrait Gallery by Thomas G. Bain of 14 Charles Street, Haymarket, London, in January 1903, twelve years after Keene’s death.

Unsigned note marked ‘personal information’, 13 Aug. 1912. In 1912 Walton Corbould’s address was Ivanhoe, 12 Woodgrange Avenue, Ealing Common, London. He is sometimes confused with his cousin Walter Edward Corbould. (Layard 1892, p.332), (Magazine of Art, 1903, p.360.)

Title: Complete Version of ye Three Blind Mice. Author: John W. Ivimey. Illustrator: Walton Corbould